A Californian man has described the extraordinary moment when a dolphin jumped into his boat, crashed into his wife and broke both of her ankles.
He and his family were watching a pod of dolphins when one of them suddenly leapt aboard, says the OC Register.
Dirk Frickman described scenes of chaos when the dolphin knocked him over and landed on his wife’s legs.
He said he managed to keep the animal alive by splashing it with water until he steered the vessel back to shore.
“I was letting go of the wheel every 30 seconds to a minute and slowing down and pouring water on her,” Mr Frickman told the Californian news site.
The dolphin was bleeding from several cuts on its tail and nose, which it received as a result of the unexpected jump. Photos provided by Dirk Frickman to the media show the dolphin lying inside his blood-splattered boat.
Mr Frickman managed to pull his wife out from under the dolphin – which he said weighed about 150kg (10 stone) – and immediately called the local harbour patrol, the news site reports.
“I could hear my phone buzzing and beeping on the floor – it was covered in blood,” he said.
Not only did the animal break his wife Chrissie’s ankles but he said it had also punched his daughter in the face.
Once they got back to Orange County harbour, Mr Frickman, aided by two others and some rope, managed to release the dolphin back into the water.
“The dolphin was hopefully saved,” he said, adding: “It swam away with no problem.”
A harbour patrol official, who confirmed the incident, told the Associated Press news agency he had heard of sea lions jumping aboard boats, but never dolphins.
“I don’t know what was in the water, but something must have scared it,” Sgt DJ Haldeman said.
Mr Frickman and his wife had been celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary, as well as Father’s Day, with their two children when the incident happened on 21 June.